Now, we may be a little biased, but we are quietly confident that Cyprus has everything you need for your event and then some. It may not be a vast country, but that’s part of its charm and, you’ll be amazed at just how much there is to see, do and experience. Visitors have been flocking to the island for years and it’s not hard to see why. A generous serving of picture-perfect beaches, a sprinkling of quaint villages, unique wild-life and nature, buzzing cities. Add to this 10,000 years of culture and history, more UNESCO world heritage sites than you can shake a stick at and also some of the best food in the world. What’s not to love?
It is of course, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Over 300 days of sunshine each year is quite something and its geographical position between East and West means a rich cultural legacy and fascinating melting pot of history, food and tradition. It also means that the island boasts some of the finest hotel accommodation in the Mediterranean and a well-developed infrastructure with great flight connections, safe and affordable internal transport facilities and a truly impressive range of restaurants, bars, cafes and other attractions. It’s enviable location also means that it is a well-established destination for conference groups from across Europe and the Middle East. Meaning of course, state-of-the-art facilities, heaps of choice and a great range of extra-curricular options too.
Aside from its gorgeous beaches (incidentally the highest number of Blue Flag beaches in Europe), warm, safe swimming waters and the aforementioned fabulous climate, what you might not know is that away from the developed areas, the island boasts beautiful countryside, picturesque villages and a proud rural tradition. Sustainability is also a huge deal these days, there are tremendous efforts afoot to ensure visitors make a positive impact on the island and that old traditions are preserved for future generations.
Cyprus is also an absolute mecca for foodies with flavours from all four corners of the globe. From gourmet cuisine to Asian-fusion and sushi, Lebanese fare to fresh seafood, some of the best Italian food outside Italy, gorgeous fresh salads and of course, you have to try a traditional meat or fish meze in one of the many local tavernas. Food is a hugely important part of Cypriot life, eating and sharing food is pretty much a national sport and no-one leaves Cyprus hungry, the only difficulty is what to choose! Cyprus has also been producing wine for just a few thousand years as well, so you can be sure to find a favourite tipple. Many of the traditional and boutique wineries offer tours and tastings and this is a great way to discover the wines on offer. Cypriot wines are also winning international awards and these days may restaurants are proud to offer an exclusively local wine list. Wine buffs can follow one of the many wine routes and get to know the local vintages up close and personal.
Say YES to Cyprus...
- Clean beaches with clean, safe bathing water
- Extremely high standards of accommodation and facilities
- Good flight connections from all main European and Middle Eastern cities. Two international airports.
- Well-developed infrastructure with good road network and short distances between cities
- State of the art conference facilities both in hotels and external venues
- Highly developed and professional service industry
- Modern European country with over 10,000 years of fascinating history
- Beautiful nature with diverse landscapes and numerous endemic species
- Picturesque villages and fishing ports offering traditional architecture and a warm Mediterranean welcome
- Strong tradition of sustainability and environmental responsibility
- Fabulous climate with more days of sun than anywhere else in Europe
- Safety and security
- Good quality/ price balance
- English, Russian and German widely spoken, other languages spoken in hotels, restaurants and popular tourist spots
Want to know more?
Read on for more detailed information on the resorts and places of interest
Nicosia (Lefkosia) has the dubious honour of being the last divided capital in Europe. Fortified walls dating from the Venetian period surround the old quarter of the city with the modern European city spreading outwards. The city is a real melting pot of ancient and modern, Eastern and Western with traces of its fascinating and often tumultuous past evident at every turn. The restored Laiki Yeitonia district at the heart of the old town is a maze of narrow streets, jam packed with cafes, bars, tavernas and craft shops. Nearby Faneromeni is fast becoming the go-to area in the capital with cafes, restaurants and shops springing up in the old buildings.
If you fancy a spot of retail therapy then take a walk down Ledra Street, home to many high-street brands and local boutiques. At the end of the street lies the so-called “Green Line” which divides the occupied north from the rest of the city, a pedestrian check-point has now been created allowing residents from both sides of the city to move freely.
Nicosia is also a must-see for culture vultures! St John’s Cathedral is home to stunning frescos and Byzantine icons. If museums are your thing then don’t miss the Cyprus Museum which houses some of the islands greatest archaeological treasures including mosaics and sculptures, the Leventis Museum tells the story of the city’s history. Also interesting are the restored houses from the Venetian period In the evenings try to see a concert in the D’Avila moat or attend an exhibition at the Famagusta Gate, one of the three original entrances to the city.
Limassol (Lemesos) Positioned between two ancient city states and now conveniently between the island’s two airports, Limassol is a great base for exploring the country. But Cyprus’ second largest city and centre of the island’s wine industry is also a great place to stay in its own right.
The narrow streets in the old town built around the Medieval castle are constantly buzzing; this once neglected area has reclaimed its place as the city’s hub with shops, cafes, bars, clubs and an eclectic range of eateries springing up all over the place. In recent years this has become the place to see and be seen for Limassolians and it’s a great spot to spend a sunny afternoon or a night out sampling some of the local cuisine.
At the new Limassol Marina check out the rich in their super yachts, indulge in a spot of shopping or simply sit and watch the world go by. From the Marina why not walk or cycle along the new beach path which stretches along Limassol’s coastline. There are also a number of beach bars and restaurants along the way and in the summer months this is where the locals like to party with music and drinks by the sea until the early hours. The city is known for its fun-loving residents and is home to the island’s largest carnival in February and Wine Festival in September.
There is also plenty on offer for culture-lovers with live concerts at Kourion ancient amphitheatre during summer months, the city also enjoys a lively theatre scene.
To the West of Limassol lies Kolossi Castle, erstwhile headquarters of the Knights Hospitaller who made Commandaria wine there! The nearby village of Erimi marks the start of the old wine route and is also home to the Cyprus Wine Museum. This is a great starting point for exploring the “Krassochoria” or wine villages, located around 30 minutes up towards the mountains.
Paphos (Pafos) island’s ancient capital is literally bursting at the seams with history, so much so that UNESCO put the whole town on its World Cultural Heritage List!
Paphos is also the 2017 European City of Culture so keep a look out for the special events and exhibitions to celebrate this.
Monasteries, mosaics, ancient burial sites, Greek temples, Roman villas and medieval forts, there is so much to choose from. Paphos also had some pretty famous residents in the past, the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite was born from the waves at Petra tou Romiou and St Paul stopped off here on his travels bringing Christianity to the island.
The harbour area is the town’s focal point these days and a great place to enjoy seafood fresh off the boat or sip on an iced frappé while indulging in a bit of people-watching. The medieval castle hosts an opera festival every September using the fort as a backdrop, thousands of people flock to enjoy the magical atmosphere and listen to music under the stars. But if opera is not your thing, never fear, Paphos has masses of other entertainment options on offer including, live folk music in tavernas, fireworks cruises and beach bars.
Outside of the town, the area is home to the islands 4 golf courses and popular for swimming, water-sports and sailing. Heading west the unspoilt Akamas Peninsula is a real must-see. This natural park is ideal for hiking, biking or off-road safaris, home to many rare endemic plants and also one of the few nesting grounds for green and loggerhead turtles. The fishing villages of Polis and Latchi further up the coast are great for enjoying fresh seafood
Larnaca (Larnaka) is probably best known these days as the location of the island’s largest airport but, the town is built over the ancient city state of Kition. It is also home to important religious sites for both Christians and Muslims with the church of St Lazarus and the Hala Sultan mosque.
Larnaca is a popular destination for nature lovers who come to watch the flamingos and other migratory birds on the salt lake as well as art enthusiasts who enjoy the paintings and sculptures on display at the Pierides Foundation.
The “Phinikoudes” promenade is a great place for a chilled out afternoon of people-spotting and the marina close by is a favourite with the yachting community. Larnaca has long been known as a relaxing vacation spot and boasts some lovely beaches including Faros Beach, Perivolia Beach and the more lively Mackenzie Beach.
The surrounding area has some real treats in store too with the UNESCO listed Choirokoitia Neolithic site, the church of Angeloktisti with its Byzantine art and the monastery of Stavrovouni to name but a few. Perhaps most famous though is the picturesque village of Lefkara famous for producing silver filigree work and traditional lace. Local women still sit outside their houses as they work on their “lefkaritika” lace, just as they did back in the day when as legend has it a certain Signor da Vinci visited the area and bought some of their handiwork which he donated to Milan cathedral!
Ayia Napa and Protaras were once sleepy fishing villages, today they need no introduction as the party resorts of Cyprus!
Picture-perfect beaches with fine white sand and warm turquoise waters, this area buzzes with life all summer long. If your idea of the perfect holiday is chilling on the beach and dancing the night away then Ayia Napa is the place for you.
But if the kids have made you hang up your dancing shoes, or you are just looking for a relaxing break with family or friends then fear not, the area still has plenty to offer. Renting a villa or apartment also means you can choose to stay away from the bustle of the tourist centres but still enjoy arguably the best beaches on the island.
The area has also changed a lot in recent years with real efforts being made to appeal to a wider range of visitors. Ayia Napa offers fine dining, stylish beach bars, a great water park and plenty more to keep you occupied. The Cape Greko national park has stunning views and some of the best snorkelling and diving in Cyprus. Protaras has a good variety of restaurants, cafes and bars and is a popular summer destination for Cypriots. Off-season, the area transforms with older visitors from colder climes enjoying hiking, swimming and exploring in the winter sun.
If you need a break from sun, sea and sand then the “Kokkinochoria” or red soil villages are worth a visit as are the small local museums that give you a picture of rural life in Cyprus not so very long ago.
Mountains & Villages If you want to experience the real Cyprus, head inland and explore the villages and landscapes of the Troodos Mountains.
Just a short drive away from the bustle and life on the coast, you could be forgiven for thinking you had travelled to another world, or at least another country! But nothing is far away in Cyprus and as the story goes, you can swim in the sea in the morning and take to the ski slopes in the afternoon!
With the cooler temperatures and milder climate, the Troodos region is an outdoor paradise. With a network of hiking and biking trails, nature walks, picnic spots, waterfalls, sports centres and ski slopes there is something for everyone.
History lovers will enjoy seeing the UNESCO-listed Byzantine churches and rich monasteries with their rare frescoes and art work as well as the wonderfully preserved villages where time has stood still.
Foodies will not be disappointed either with fresh cherries and almonds, “glyka” or candied fruits, rose water sweets, village bread, trout from the mountain streams and “kleftiko”- local lamb slow cooked in a traditional oven amongst the delights on offer. Not to mention olives and wine from the foothills
Cypriots are well-known for their warm hospitality and no-where is this more evident that in the isolated villages of the Troodos region
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